PLAYING for one of the biggest names in world football is nothing more than a dream for most.
But for Roger Barnfield that dream came true – if only for a weekend.
The 31 year-old – who works for National Grid on Warwick Technology Park – could not quite believe his luck when he received an email from the Spanish giants to say he had won a competition to experience what life was like for superstar players such as Messi, Neymar and Iniesta.
The Solihull resident jetted to Catalonia on an all expenses paid trip after Barcelona chose 22 lucky winners from around the world to be part of a Sunday afternoon game of football at their world famous 99,000 capacity Nou Camp Stadium home.
Roger lived the football dream after being picked up by the official Barcelona team coach prior to game, and when they arrived at the stadium some of the gathered tourists even mistook him for one of Barcelona’s stars.
Roger said he had to do a double take when he received the email.
He told The Observer: “I didn’t believe it at first. There are so many internet scams around now and I did ask myself if this is real – but it was.
“I sent my details across about shirt size, the name for them to print, and what airport I’d fly from.”
Although the Birmingham City fan failed to score, he can claim to be one of few Brits to have played football on Barcelona’s hallowed home turf, with his nickname ‘Barney’ emblazoned on the back of his shirt.
“We were picked up in the team coach by the actual Barcelona coach driver. He told us where the star players like Messi and Neymar usually sit.
“Lots of people were taking pictures when we got off the coach after we arrived at the stadium, it was very surreal.
“All our kits were prepared in the dressing room, we had a pep talk and then lined up in the tunnel.
“I was very tired at half time but kept going and played for 80 minutes.”
Upon arrival in Barcelona, Roger met the other 21 lucky winners – including one fellow Brit – and enjoyed a meal on Barcelona beach front on Friday afternoon.
In addition to the game, the winners were all given a tour of the Nou Camp, including an exclusive glimpse inside the manager’s office and the youth training ground.
The former Warwick University student said: “It felt like I was back at school.
“The Barcelona coaches told us how they train the players by highlighting the importance of passing and possession football.
“We had our own training session before enjoying some more time with a pair of freestyle footballers.
“It was a weekend I’ll never forget.”